The US administration is looking at the possiblity of using a government-owned ship to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons in international waters.
Destroying Syria’s deadliest chemical weapons on land is likely to cause diplomatic, security and environmental issues.
Subject to the receipt of approval, the weapons would be transported to the MV Cape Ray in the Mediterranean Sea..
Owned by the Transportation Department’s Maritime Administration, the ship would be equipped with a mobile Field Deployable Hydrolysis System, developed by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, an arm of the Pentagon.
The system will use a titanium reactor and heated water and other chemicals, to neutralise the Syrian chemical warfare materials.
In addition, two hydrolysis units would be mounted on Cape Ray and training will be conducted to ensure the process goes successfully at sea, reported The Associated Press.
If the mission is finalised, the Cape Ray would be moved to the control of the Defense Department’s Military Sealift Command and would have civilian crew.
US officials stated that efforts are still being made to determine how to move the warfare materials from Syria to the US ship.
They also added that they expect another country to provide a ship for the task.
A final decision is expected soon, and the operation would commence by the end of this year, the officials added.
The disposal plan would be performed by the Netherlands-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), a global chemical weapons watchdog agency with 190 member states.
The agency stated that the programme to remove chemical weapons from Syria to other locations continues to pose challenges due to the security situation on the ground.
OPCW Director-General Üzümcü stated that the resolve to eliminate Syrian chemical weapons in the safest and soonest manner possible reflects a collective commitment.
"States parties, especially those with the capacity to safely dispose of such chemicals, can and must play their part," Üzümcü added.